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‘Fracking’ for Natural Gas In Western Mass Discussed

waterAMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Could Western Mass become something of a little Texas when it comes to drilling for natural gas? That’s the concern of many after a recent U.S. Geological Survey report said the area could have some deposits.

The American Ground Water Trust held an information session at UMass Amherst with the goal of providing information about existing fracking operations in other parts of the country,. The thrust was that the practices of blasting through rock with water (hydrofracking) or with water and chemicals (hydraulic fracking) are largely risk-free.

“Our purpose today was to get the information out to the public, begin discussion where the local landowners and municipalities and so forth can begin to think about how they would like to see potential extraction of shale gas come to fruition or how they would manage it should it come to Western Massachusetts,” said Garret Graaskamp, a Hydrologist with American Ground Water Trust.

The U.S.G.S. report pointed out the potential of natural gas sources in the Hartford Basin. That’s a swath of land going roughly from north of the Quabbin Reservoir through the Pioneer Valley and to the southern shore of Connecticut.

The main concern of those against fracking is that underground sources for drinking water could be contaminated. Many in the audience were environmentalists who thought the dangers of fracking were being downplayed.

“I don’t believe that there will ever be safe fracking,” said Sherri Long of Climate Action Now. “Once you contaminate water, it’s gone forever.”

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